The most mystifying of running problems is when you are running along and suddenly your calf seizes or you are crippled with a muscle cramp. Muscle cramps are painful, involuntary, and sustained contractions of one or more muscles that can lead to the abrupt cessation of your physical activity.
You may experience lingering soreness, reduction in normal muscle function, and even signs and symptoms of muscle damage.
Causes for muscle cramps
Cramps can be caused by overexertion, dehydration, fatigue, and inadequate training, leading to altered communication from the nerves to the leg muscles. During longer runs, body temperature increases, which causes sweating. This, in turn, causes a loss of electrolytes, especially salt. Another cause is reduced blood volume, it is hypothesized that as body heat increases over the course of a long run, the blood volume decreases. This taxes the muscles and can lead to cramping. The most common site for cramps in runners is abdominal stitches, calves, hamstring, quadriceps, and bottom of the feet.
Risk factors for muscle cramps
The exact cause of muscle cramps is not known, but risk factors may include:
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